As Star Wars Celebration Chicago neared its end, fans were treated to a lively, joyous discussion from the cast and creators of Star Wars Resistance. Host David Collins — who’s also the show’s sound editor — welcomed to the stage showrunner Justin Ridge, Executive Producer Athena Portillo, and Head Writer Brandon Auman, as well as voice actors Christopher Sean, Suzie McGrath, Scott Lawrence, Myrna Velasco, Donald Faison, and Bobby Moynihan to reminisce and to tease the show’s upcoming second season. Then attendees got an extra special treat: a private screening of the Resistance season two premiere and a teaser poster which included two pieces of amazing artwork!
Here are six of our favorite moments and anecdotes from the panel.
1. Season Two, much like The Last Jedi, will pick up right where the previous episode ended. Although you will have to wait to see for yourself, we can tell you the new season gets off to an incredible start. Making their way through hyperspace en route to D’Qar, the Colossus crew gets more than they bargained for: systems malfunctions, artificial-gravity fluctuations, fuel shortages, and even a meddling droid belonging to the First Order. After season one’s shocking finale, you definitely don’t want to miss what’s next.
2. Resistance began with a simple question: What was happening before The Force Awakens? Showrunner Justin Ridge recounted an early meeting with Dave Filoni, where Filoni (who called him “Padawan”) showed him some early concept art by both Art Director Amy Beth Christenson and Tokyo’s Polygon Pictures Inc., with whom Lucasfilm produces the series. From the start, Filoni, Christenson, and everyone else involved wanted Resistance to have a colorful, vibrant look to it. They also wanted to pay tribute to the work of seminal Japanese animation projects like the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Super Dimension Fortress Macross, a.k.a. Robotech: The Macross Saga.
3.The series was essentially born at Skywalker Ranch. The earliest writers rooms for Resistance took place at Skywalker Ranch in 2016, after most of the characters had been created in concept art. Under the guidance of Filoni, things started to take shape answering two more big questions: How might the everyday citizens of Castilon feel about the rise of the First Order? How could fan-favorite heroes like Leia Organa and Poe Dameron provide a bit of connective tissue between Resistance and the larger storytelling universe?
4. The show’s characters are the heart of the series. In creating Kazudo “Kaz” Xiono, they wanted a hero who was spectacularly gifted in the air but, like a bird, a little awkward and ill-equipped to deal with things on the ground. Actor Christopher Sean was quick to point out that Kaz would be nothing without the other members of Team Fireball. “Except Tam,” he joked, grinning at costar Suzie McGrath. Showrunner Justin Ridge wanted a character who could be both heroic and funny, and Sean nailed that balance during the audition process.
5. Nobody loves the characters of Star Wars Resistance like the folks who play them in the voice-over booth, and their passion is infectious. “I became an actor because I wanted to be in Star Wars,” said actor Donald Faison. “I wanted to fly the Millennium Falcon — y’know what I mean?” McGrath called playing Tam Ryvora “a dream come true….She has such a feisty drive and sense of humor.” Scott Lawrence joined the world of Star Wars VO when he voiced Darth Vader in a number of video games years ago; he’s been pleasantly surprised by how quickly fans have embraced his Resistance character, a veteran pilot named Jarek Yeager. “He’s gotten quite a complex story,” Lawrence said. “I wish I could be as cool and good looking as he is.”
Saturday Night Live alum Bobby Moynihan insisted that there’s no bigger Orka fan than him. “As a lifelong Star Wars fan, the style of this show is one of the coolest things ever,” he said. “And the representation is the greatest.” Moynihan recalled having a rough time with the audition, worrying that he wouldn’t get the part; he was thrilled when he got called back.
6. And the Resistance cast is like a family. Myrna Velasco, who absolutely embodies the virtues of her character, Torra Doza, said she loves getting to work alongside so many talented female performers. “We’re all dangerous women on this show,” she said. She also has a special relationship with fellow Mexican-American actor Jason Hightower, who plays her father in the series, Captain Doza. The two of them often have long conversations in Spanish, which in turn strengthens the familial relationship they portray on-screen.
Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Fangoria, Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.
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